Saturday, May 30, 2009


I've been thinking about Kristen's question from last night of whether we would be revolutionaries or suffer in silence and Heather's example of the French resistance in WWII. I think the difference might be that as a revolutionary in 1984 you were totally alone and that takes more bravery, it would be easier to be brave as part of an organisation where you could actually meet your counterparts.

Also, I was wondering, do you think Emmanuel Goldstein was real or a creation of the Party? I thought if they always ensure there is no real revolution by creating their own fake revolution, possibly Goldstein was a construct.

Thanks to Kristen for a lovely night!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Movies you may enjoy if you liked 1984

If you enjoyed the story of 1984, 2 movies you may enjoy are V for Vendetta (based on Alan Moore's graphic novel) and Equilibrium (starring Christian Bale and Sean Bean).

Both have very similar plot lines and reinforce many of the themes that Orwell has written about.

Friday, May 15, 2009

The end...


I finished it!

I am proud!

I actually enjoyed it and I am very glad I have read it. It now goes onto my 'real books' bookshelf, which is somewhat removed from my 'book-candy' bookshelf (...strange I am, I know)

I won't put anything more here as it will have spoilers but read my comment to see just what I learnt from reading 1984

Is TXT our Newspeak?

Of everything that Orwell described Newspeak resonated with me the most. I watch the disintigration of our language skills with frustration even as I do it myself

Gonna is a frequently used word, as is ta and a few more. I don't like that I use them, but I do it anyway

My real hate is 'anythingK', 'nothingK' etc - these ones drive me nuts but I see them being part of accepted language sooner rather than later

Any my soapbox and onto my point

I use small bits of text when I am typing or texting but I have friends whose messages I cannot decipher as they use nothing but TXT and this is where I think TXT = Newspeak

TXT has no emotion (unless you add the smilie to show your meaning), it does away with verbs, descriptors and nouns and expects you to fill in the gaps. It destroys correct spelling and composition. In short it reduceds the language to the bare basics and isn't this the heart of Newspeak?

To my mind - control writing and expression and you control the public... Eradicate creativity and you can rule them all

What piece of Orwell's world do you think has come to pass?

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Did you know...

that the term/title/phrase/concept of "Big Brother" was coined in the year 1949 by Orwell when the novel '1984' was published?

I wonder where we would we be had he not? Would there even be such a thing as 'reality' tv if he hadn't put the idea of somone watching your every move out there?

Did Orwell actually create the modern practice of putting the intimacies and minutae of life in the media for all to see? And isn't this itself a case of "doublethinking"

Friday, May 8, 2009

Coke and "Bees" discussion

Thank you to all who attended the thai food/chocolate/peanut bonanza last night! We spent approx. 10% of the time talking about the book and the rest on random (but very enjoyable) discussion.

For those who couldn't make it but are still interested in what we talked about, here is a brief run-down. (no, I didn't take minutes!!)

  • A couple of people had read the book for the first time for book club and really enjoyed it. Some of us had read it before and re-read it for book club, and we all said we enjoyed it less the second time around. Perhaps it loses its freshness when you know what is going to happen.
  • We talked a little bit about the "romance" between Lily and Zach. Some of us felt this would've been more powerful as a friendship; others felt that as it was a coming-of-age story, it would be logical that it be a romance. We could all see what Lily saw in Zach, but found it more diffucult to understand why he would be attracted to a much younger girl.
  • We discussed the significance of bees but I don't know that we solved this one.
  • Kathryn showed us a portrait of a Black Madonna that she bought in Vilnius in Lithuania - this seems to be a wide-spread image in Europe that I was unaware of before the book.

If anyone else who was there can remember more can you add as a comment. And now back to our regularly scheduled programme - 1984!!!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Be a spin doctor


Why is war peace?

How is freedom slavery?

What makes ignorance strength?

Convince the population that these statements are true and worth living by...

Be honest

If you lived in the world of Nineteen Eighty-Four would you:

Be a revolutionary, fighting the fight against the manipulation and control of Big Brother?

Passively go with the flow, the world is what it is, you just get to live in it?

Be an aggressive enforcer of the rules, seeking out and reporting any infraction you spot (sometimes even before you spot it)?


What was your reaction to the boat people being massacred at the beginning of the book?

I look at the passive agressive, fear mongering way that refugees are shown in the media today (and the somewhat hysterical way people talk about them 'que jumping', 'taking our jobs', 'taking our land/water', 'bringing their wars to us' etc) and I see us potentially being hyped up to a point where events like this will happen and that they will be accepted as the way to safeguard our country.

What do you think?

It's a question of...


The first question (and most obvious one to my mind) is just how far or how close do you think we are to the world that's described in the novel?

Are we on the brink of Big Brother controlling us all with fear and hatred, are we in the middle of it or are we on a different path as a society?

Monday, May 4, 2009

June reading list

Hi all,
Sorry to butt in in the May topic, but in case you have already read 1984 and are wondering what to read next, I thought I'd put a few suggestions up.
My topic of autobiographical fiction grew out of my love of the work of Henry Miller and On the road by Kerouac. I thought we might do autobiographical fiction as a topic to discuss the form rather than all reading one book.
I had three authors in mind to talk about and compare, Henry Miller, Jack Kerouac and Hunter S. Thompson, who are often linked together because of their style although all from different eras.
Some titles by these authors include:
Tropic of Cancer and/or
Tropic of Capricorn by Miller
On the road by Kerouac
and the Rum Diary by Thompson.
I guess you could read anything you can get your hands on by these authors, but these I would recommend as a start and I think it would be interesting to focus on because they were all written before the authors became famous and established as writers.
I have a copy of the Rum Diary somewhere that I can lend you too.
Happy reading folks!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Sorry folks

Small problem with Pyzam templates, have adjusted comments options so they now appear in a pop-up window, which seems to work.  Let me know if you have any problems and I'll ditch the template.


Saturday, May 2, 2009

And so it begins

Hi all

Well my month has rolled around quite quickly and it's time to chat about Nineteen Eighty-Four...suppose I had better read it then

The book may be in my 'to read pile' but I have already planed the end event so at least I have my priorities right

Keep watching for some leading questions (once I make them up or steal them from Novelist) and happy reading


(PS - Thanks to Nicole for the fabulous page)